Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Fruit Tart and Tartlets

June 2010 277

Have you ever bought something and come home to discover that your husband just bought the exact same thing? It’s happened to me many times, not just with groceries, but with big ticket items too, like a whole house fan, camping gear or a 42-foot sailboat (just kidding about that last one). 

This time I think the fruit fairy must have sprinkled some fairy dust in my husband’s ears.  “Fruit is your friend. Buy more fruit, buy more fruit,” was her mantra.  Meanwhile, I was having trouble resisting all those summer fruits that spoke to me too. That’s how we ended up with enough fruit to give even Carmen Miranda (er, Minnie Miranda) a run for her money.

Forget the blueberries, strawberries, peaches and pineapple that you see here. I’ve still got plenty of grapes, cherries and bananas waiting for their moment of glory too. But the blueberries and strawberries were first in line, so I got to thinking about Marie of Proud Italian Cook’s blueberry tart using lemon curd. With different friends coming by two nights in a row, it was a no-brainer to prepare once for separate nights’ desserts. The first night I’d make the tartlets using two different fruits and for the second night, the larger tart with several kinds of fruits.

June 2010 296 I made my own pastry shell, but bought the lemon curd from the supermarket and used it straight from the jar on the tartlets, topping it with the fruit and a glaze of apricot jam. We finished off the tartlets quicker than you could say pate brisee.

June 2010 271 But I wanted something more than the jellied/jam-like consistency of lemon curd for the base of the large tart -something a little creamier. I could have mixed the lemon curd with yogurt as Marie did in her tart, but I was feeling a little more decadent. I went with whipped cream and added a small amount of the lemon curd. Ka-ching –Jackpot!  This is so easy to prepare and tastes so creamy and lemony that I know I’ll be using it as my go-to filling for many tarts to come.

June 2010 298 This pastry shell recipe is pretty darn delicious too. I know you can buy those ready-to-use shells in the refrigerated section of the supermarket and I’ve used them too, but there’s really no comparison to a well-made pastry shell with its delicate buttery flavor and tender flaky crumb. Even though it’s not as golden brown as I wanted, it was still fully cooked. I had the oven temperature at 350 degrees, but I’m cranking it up to 375 degrees next time.

I am giving you the recipe to make enough for two 11-inch tart pans so you can use one now and freeze the other one for the future if you like. Just roll in out into a disk about 6 inches in diameter, wrap it well in plastic wrap and pop it in the freezer for the next time your tart fairy speaks to you too. If you’ve got these little tart pans, the pastry recipe makes enough for about 16 tartlets and one 11-inch tart pan.

I bought my little Swedish tart tins decades ago from some catalog and the box is showing its age. OMG, I just did a Google search under “tart pans” and found the same assortment for $9.99 through in case you wanted to buy some.

June 2010 258 To make the little tarts, roll out the dough and turn the the little tart pans upside down on the dough. Cut a shape a little bigger than the pan. Flip it over and press it down into the pan. No need to butter the pan. The dough has enough butter in it and the shell will slip out easily after it’s baked.

June 2010 254 Just be sure to prick the dough all around with a fork so it won’t puff up during baking.

June 2010 256 Prick the large shell the same way. But I go the extra step on the large pastry shell and cover it with buttered aluminum foil and some hard, dry beans to weigh it down during the first half of baking.

June 2010 262 After it cools, fill it with the creamy-lemony filling.

June 2010 292  Arrange an assortment of fresh fruit on top and brush with some apricot jam that has been slightly heated to allow you to spread it easier.

Then take any remaining fruit from the refrigerator and start working on a hat. You never know when there might be a remake of Carmen Miranda movies.

Printable Recipes Here

Flaky Tart Pastry (pate brisee)

(enough for two 11-inch tarts or 1 11-inch tart and 18 tartlets)

3 cups flour

4 T. sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks cold unsalted butter

2 egg yolks

about four Tablespoons ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt into the food processor and blend. Add the butter and egg yolks and pulse until it has the texture of coarse sand. Add a little of the water while the motor is running  - just enough to make it cohesive enough to work. DON”T OVERMIX IT or you’ll have a tough dough.

Remove it from the food processor and place it on the counter or work table. Shape it into two disks and put it in the refrigerator for an hour. (Put one, well-wrapped, in the freezer if saving for a future use.) If you keep it in the refrigerator any longer, I find it becomes so hard to roll out that it cracks on you. I’ve even been known to roll it out without refrigerating at all and it works just fine too. When ready to use, roll out on a floured board and place into the tart pan. Price all over with a fork, then put it in the freezer for 1/2 hour or longer. When ready to bake, line the pastry shell with a buttered piece of aluminum foil and pour in some dried beans. Bake it at 375 for about 8 minutes then remove the aluminum foil and beans. Place it back in the oven and bake it for another 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Fill it with pastry cream, top with fresh fruit and glaze it with some apricot jam that has been slightly heated.

Filling for one large tart

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/3 cup lemon curd

Whip the cream in a mixer until it starts to hold together in soft peaks. Add the lemon curd, a teaspoon-full at a time and continue beating just until it’s all blended together.


  1. Oggi da me piove e fa freddo; ho sentito al telegiornale che in Trentino ha nevicato, Le tue torte d'estate sono meravigliose ed invitanti, un augurio per l'estate. Buona domenica Daniela.

  2. That big tart is so beautiful and the small ones are really pretty! A delicious dessert item...



  3. this is an extra 42 foot sail boat I could live with - your tarts and tartlets are so pristine and I dont care if pristine is the wrong word - I am smitten!

  4. Gorgeous Linda...fruit tarts are one of my very favorite things.
    Yours look so summery and refreshing!

  5. Linda, I'm equally amazed that you still have and use that olden tart kit. Why replace something not broken, right?

  6. That creamy lemon curd will be a nice change to my standard mascarpone filling. I find the small tartlets so sweet, I have to try each one. I love the addition of the pineapple. I must be in a berry rut.'tis the season of fruits! Celebrate!

  7. I am letting you borrow my title (crown) of "Tart Queen" for the day.
    These are beautiful!

    PS and Henry has never bought the same thing as me, or even brought the right thing home from the grocery store!

  8. Linda, I've had the lemon curd folded into whip cream, I know it's to die for! Now my mouth is watering over your tender flaky buttery pastry shell, but I don't have those cute little tins like you. I'll have to check out Amazon now. Move over Stacey you have some tart competition over here!!!

  9. Linda,
    Beautiful. You're giving Stacey a run for her tart money! Don't tell her, but I immediately clicked on the link to order the set of mini tart tins.

  10. I still has trouble making a perfect pue crust, but I will give it one more try. I love all the shapes as well as the delicious fruit in these.

  11. Your tarts look like jewels. I love the fruits of summer. While we can make these at any time of year, their flavor now is unbeatable. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  12. I love to make tarts, both sweet and savory. They whip up so quickly yet always look impressive.

    Whip cream and lemon curd sounds like a delightful combination t have as a base for the fruit..I will have to try that next time.

    I have small tart rounds but do not have the tartlets shapes....I'm going to order them now! Thanks, Linda!

  13. My husband and I buy the same things all of the time - too funny! I may have to splurge and buy that tart pan set from Amazon because your fruit tarts look incredible.

  14. Linda, le foto sono invitantissime! fanno venire voglia di addentarle subito, così colorate. Brava anche per le foto che spiegano il c"come si fa". Buonissima giornata!

  15. beautiful!!! love summer fruit tarts....and those min ones are so adorable!

  16. Love your tart and tarlets. I have some lemon curd from a Father's Day cake just waiting for a use and this would be a perfect answer . . . it's calling to me :)

  17. Linda, when are you opening the Ristorante/Pasticceria/cafe'?? I'll be the first to make reservations!

  18. Too pretty for words! The tart filling definitely sounds like a winner!

  19. What a great way to use up all the surplus fruit. You make the most gorgeous tarts, Linda!

  20. You could have a crazy tart party and all the guests would be happy! GREG

  21. those are beautiful and delish looking! Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea. With all the fresh fruit we have access to right now, the more ideas the better

  22. Perfect recipes for this time of year.


  23. They're so pretty I can't decide which I'd rather have. What a lovely way to showcase all your fresh fruit.

  24. Wow! these are so beautifully and artistically designed summer fruits